East meets West in Santa Fe

Why you ask? Because it's a lot quicker (and a whole lot cheaper) than flying to Kyoto.

Why go now: In Santa Fe, Far East meets Southwest for a fraction of the airfare to Kyoto.

Dress code: Colorful, loose clothing (call it dojo chic). But make sure to layer because ...

Altitude: ... at 7,000 feet, Santa Fe is the highest state capital and chilly in February.

Sister city: Tsuyama, Japan

Twin- cities fact: Tea: A Mirror of Soul, a contemporary opera about a Japanese monk's heroic quest, had its world premiere in Tokyo (2002) and its American one in Santa Fe (2007).

True fusion: Chef Joel Coleman blends French technique with Asian ingredients

at Mauka ($$$; 544B Agua Fria; 505/984-1969).

Number of art galleries: More than 250

Weekly Japanese film night: Arrive early for the 7:15 p.m. Thursday show at Ten Thousand Waves (free; on Hyde Park Rd., about 20 minutes from Santa Fe Plaza; 505/982-9304).

Reason to come back: The April Santa Fe Japanese Cultural Festival will feature martial arts performances, traditional music, and tea ceremonies (10-5 Apr 11; free; at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center, 201 W. Marcy St.; wgeditor@sunset.com

Take it home

At the Teahouse, you can order from more than a hundred loose-leaf blends. Savor a cup while you nibble on tea- infused breads and salads in the Zen-like lounge, then buy a bag to go. We like the genmaicha, a green tea fermented and mixed with roasted rice to create a nutty winter brew. $$; 821 Canyon Rd.; teahousesantafe.com

Ronni Lundy | From the February 2009 Issue

Find Japan in Santa Fe

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